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Anton Roolaart - Dreamer CD (album) cover


Anton Roolaart


Symphonic Prog

3.58 | 43 ratings

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Soul Dreamer
4 stars This album is a nice surprise! A debut progressive symphonic album by a new artist that is a pleasure to listen to.

The album is thematically "more or less" a concept album, all tracks are related to the overall theme of dreaming. More or less, since the theme is not obvious to me in all tracks.

The cover of the album is excellent. The cover painting depicts very well the theme of the album (beautiful artwork by Michael Phipps), and even after inspecting all the details for a few minutes you discover new things, which are related to the theme of the album, and the individual songs.

The music is full of references to Yes (especially the acoustic guitar parts are very reminiscent of Steve Howe's acoustic playing), and the music generally holds a middle between Yes and Genesis' styles in the '70. There are snippets which can be referenced to other great bands like Gentle Giant and Pink Floyd, and I even think I hear some Styx influence in one or two places (but I can be wrong.). The overall impression of the music is that of a well composed and thought out '70 symphonic rock album, very ambient, with very little "modern" metal influences (which penetrate too much music these days, I think). This is no clone, though! It's very original, with a distinctive own sound. Anton is a great guitar player, acoustic classical and Spanish guitar and electric guitar are all played with a lot of skill and feeling. Opposite to the music, the voice of Anton is quite distinctive and heavy. You would expect this kind of voice more in hard rock/metal than the symphonic music here presented. However, the more I listen, the better the combination works. It does take some time to get used to, though!

On to the tracks:

1- Near or Far: The album opens with a beautiful, extremely symphonic theme, which settles in a very nice acoustic guitar/piano with bird sounds, after which the first vocals enter. Here I get my first Styx "experience", especially in the "to be together" part. After the vocals the song changes again, and about the 5 minute mark the song ends in a great Hammond organ/guitar duet. Rating: 9/10

2- On to the Afterglow: This is my favorite of this album! The song reminds me strongly of Genesis "A Trick of the Tail" album, not so much an individual track, but it would have fitted on that album very well, mainly because of the mood and style. Between 3:40 and 4:40 in the song I get my second "Styx" moment. The vocals are more "soft" here than on the rest of the album, probably also because of the excellent accompanying female vocals. Did I say it's a great track? Rating: 10/10

3- Dreamer: Very strongly Pink Floyd influenced track. Not my favorite of this album. Rating 7/10

4- Scary Monsters: This track starts quite weak, and only between 2:30 and 3:25 I like the song. One of the weaker tracks, Rating: 6/10

5- Color of Your World: This is a typical '60 song! The end is Rick Wakeman though! And I like it. Rating 8/10

6- Mid Summer's Day: Here we have an almost 100% Yes song, at least for the start, but with some "strange" influences. Very progressive track. Also some Gentle Giant transitions. Very good track: Rating: 9/10

7- Manon: Good song, not much to say about except I especially like the guitar solo from 2:15-3:00. The last minute is quite nice also. Rating: 7/10

8- The Spider: A theatrical song, which reminds me of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nice conclusion of the album, which stresses the concept (the waking up in this case). Rating: 7/10

Overall this is a very good album, although for me the strength lies in the first two tracks. After listening to 4/5 tracks I'm loosing it a bit. Luckily the sixth track puts me on course again. What I miss here is the epic feel of symphonic rock, so I'd like Anton to make tracks longer than the average 5-7 minute time scale. The best song is the longest track! Overall rating 8/10. Anton Roolaart created a great album, but with room for improvement.This is an excellent addition to any prog (symphonic) collection.

Soul Dreamer | 4/5 |


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